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“Honestly! I thought ducks liked being in the water!”

Duck in the Water is the seventh episode of the eighteenth series.


One wet winter's day, Duck is at Knapford station with a goods train when James pulls in. James is pulling a passenger train and teases Duck for having to pull trucks. Duck knows that James sometimes has to pull trucks, too, but James says he should not have to; the passengers prefer to have a bright red engine such as himself pulling them.

As James is taking his passenger train along the line, thunder and lightning starts rumbling in the skies above and rain starts to pour down. James is not happy; how can people admire his splendid paintwork in this horrendous weather? The torrential downpour continues for quite some time.

Later, Harold is hovering above Duck's branch line when he suddenly spots a flooded piece of track. Harold hurries away to inform the Fat Controller, but it is too late. Duck puffs straight into the flood water and is stuck.

At Knapford, James is having a rest before pulling another passenger train when the Fat Controller approaches him. The Fat Controller can see that James does not have a job so gives him the duty of fetching Rocky to lift Duck out of the flood. James is not very happy with his task, but the Fat Controller tells him that the sooner he does it, the sooner he can get back to pulling passengers. James races off, still not happy with his unsuitable job, but sometimes even splendid engines has to do a job they don't like.

Rocky has just finished lifting a brake van back onto the rails when James buffers up to him. James explains that they need to rescue Duck. Rocky is happy to help, but tells James to wait while his crane arm is secured. James does not listen to Rocky and races away. As they race along the rails, Rocky swings back and forth unable to control his unsecured crane arm. On the way, Rocky's hook hits several things including a scarecrow, sign, and a water-tower, but James still kept going.

Meanwhile, Duck is sitting in the water, extremely bored and watches a family of ducks swim in front of his bufferbeam, giving off a look of annoyance.

As James and Rocky near the flooded section of track, Rocky's swinging crane arm knocks over a signal which is set to caution. Rocky does not know what he has hit, but James is sure it cannot be very important. Duck is not happy in the cold water and his fire has gone out by the time James and Rocky arrive. Soon, Rocky is attached to Duck and is about to pull him out. James remarks that he thought "ducks liked being in the water" and laughs, but Duck ignores him and says that Duck is not even his real name.

Meanwhile, Oliver is pulling a goods train along Duck's branch line, too. With the signal knocked over, Oliver is oblivious to the danger ahead. As Oliver rounds the bend, he has to brake hard but cannot avoid hitting James who knocks into Rocky. This causes Duck to be dropped back into the water. James is very cross and scolds Oliver for not looking where he was going when he approached the signal. Oliver is sure he did not see a signal and he starts to reverse so that his driver can put out some flags to warn other engines. Suddenly, Percy comes steaming round the bend and bumps into the engines. Duck finds himself, once again, back in the water. Harold has been watching the events and flies off to fetch the Fat Controller.

Eventually, Duck is placed back on dry rails. The Fat Controller arrives in Harold who is not very happy with so many accidents. Rocky says the whole situation must be his fault as his crane arm had not been secured and he must have knocked over the signal. James objects and tells the Fat Controller that it had all been an accident. He explains that he had collected Rocky and was in such a rush that he had not waited for Rocky's crane arm to be secured. As he is explaining, James realises that everything had been his fault. The Fat Controller is still not happy about all the chaos James has caused, but he is proud of James for admitting what he has done. The Fat Controller tells James to deliver Duck's goods train while Duck's firebox dries out. James is happy to do it.

As he sets off with the goods train, James realises he cannot always do the jobs he likes best, but as long as the sun is shining, James is always a splendid-looking bright red engine.





US and CAN


  • James' incident with the signal is similar to the one he had in The Railway Series story, Crossed Lines, from James and the Diesel Engines.
  • Duck's predicament is similar to the Railway Series story, Down the Drain from Thomas and the Twins, in which Ben was stuck in a flood with his fire extinguished by the water and needed to be towed out.
  • After watching the ducks swim in front of his bufferbeam, Duck breaks the fourth wall by giving a look of annoyance to the audience.
  • In the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Baltic Russian and Vietnamese dubs, the UK dub can be heard in the background as a dubbing track was not used.


  • In the first shot of James arriving at Knapford, he goes past the platform, but in the next shot, he has moved backwards.
  • During the scene of James and Duck at Knapford station, Duck's footplate is clipping through the platform.
  • A young girl in a pink dress and the Great Railway Show Judge can be seen on platform 1 of Knapford station as James pulls off, but in the next scene, they are both in his train.
  • In the first shot of Knapford station, there are red coaches next to Duck as James arrives. However in the next shot, they are gone.
  • While exiting the tunnel, Rocky's crane arm passes through the wall for a moment when swinging.
  • When James switches tracks to go behind Rocky, he and Rocky have moved back, as they were last then lount in the previous shot.
  • Oliver's crew is not rendered properly when Oliver passes the broken signal, as they appear to be in his coal bunker, with one crew member's hand and head protruding through it.
  • When James arrives at the accident site, Duck has moved forward.
  • Before the shot of Harold after the second crash, a man in front of Duck restarts his animation as the scene zooms out.
  • In the first close-up of James, Duck's fourth truck and brake van are not rendered properly.
  • In the close-up of James when he said that he will take Duck's train, Oliver's brake van is missing.
  • Throughout a majority of the episode, James' running board is pink instead of white.


In Other Languages

Language Title
Brazilian Portuguese Duck Dentro D'água
Czech Duck ve vodě
Danish Ducks dukkert
Dutch Duck in het Water
French Les Roues dans l'eau
Hungarian Duck a vízben
Italian Duck in Acqua
Japanese みずにつかったダック
Korean 물에 빠진 더크
Norwegian Anda ender i vannet
Polish Kaczor w Wodzie
Romanian Duck intra la apa
Russian Дак в воде
Spanish Duck en el Agua
Taiwanese Mandarin 水中的达克
Ukrainian Дак у воді

Home Media Releases


DVD Packs


  • The Christmas Engines (Direct-to-Home Video)
  • Season 18

DVD Boxsets